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New initiatives on horizon with spring semester underway

It is great to be back on campus with a new semester underway. We have a number of initiatives on the horizon in the Office of Research and Economic Development, and I’d like to take a moment to share a few of the details with you.


David Shaw is vice president for research and economic development at Mississippi State University.

Cross-college, collaborative research grants awarded
We are excited to announce the latest recipients of our cross-college, collaborative research grants. This marks the fifth year we have funded these grants, and we are very pleased to be able to provide additional resources that help faculty move their work forward. I appreciate Associate Vice President for Research Drew Hamilton leading this effort. A $2,000 grant to each of the teams will support the initiation of proposals, as well as help enhance multi-disciplinary collaboration of existing projects. Thanks to all who submitted a proposal, and congratulations to our recipients: Frank Adams, Stamatis Agiovlasitis, Peter Allen, Stephanie Bennett, Linkan Bian, Harish Chander, Ron Cossman, Steven Elder, Yuhua Farnell, Masoud Gheisari, Robert Grala, Stacy Haynes, Brien Henry, Trey Howell, Richard Ingram, Kristin Javorsky, Brenda Kirkland, Jun Liao, Hugh Medal, Mabel Okojie, Raj Prabhu, Mark Shankle, Scott Thompson, Kelley Wamsley, Joseph Witt and Tung-Lung Wu.

Momentum building for new Partnership School
As many of you know, I served on the Commission on Starkville Consolidated School District Structure as the Legislature’s mandate to merge the city and county school districts moved forward. While there have been challenges since this process started, I am very optimistic about the many opportunities consolidation will provide students and our community as a whole. It is exciting to see support building for a key component of the consolidation plan: the MSU-Starkville-Oktibbeha CSD 6-7th Grade Partnership School, which is outlined in a news release this week from the Office of Public Affairs at www.msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=7016.

Responsible Conduct of Research session next week
The spring Responsible Conduct of Research live sessions get started on Jan. 21 with Dr. Jan Chambers and a discussion of “Collaborative Research.” The session will be held at 3 p.m. in 115 Franklin Center. Please contact Kacey Strickland, director of the Office of Research Compliance, at 662-325-7474 with any questions about Responsible Conduct of Research. To register for the first session and to see the full spring schedule, please visit

Seminar series kicks off in February
After a very successful fall, the Research Seminar Series returns for a spring semester run next month. On Feb. 6, we will host “Professional Development for Research Administrators” at 2:30 p.m. in the Bost Extension Center theater. This panel discussion will feature a number of research administrators from around campus. The complete series lineup is available online at www.msstate.edu/web/temp/newsfiles/SeminarsSpring2015Web.pdf.

International Institute grant program garners interest
In October, I was pleased to see the International Institute launch the International Working Group Grant Program. This competitive seed grant program garnered substantial interest from across campus, according to Jon Rezek, the institute’s interim executive director and interim associate vice president for international programs. Twenty-three proposals were submitted by members of all eight academic colleges. The program is designed to expand Mississippi State’s global profile by stimulating interdisciplinary international research and outreach efforts, particularly collaborative work involving universities and organizations with which the university has formal partnerships. Look for funding announcements later this month.

Kudos and congratulations
I always look forward to sharing success stories about our faculty and staff with you, and here are a few that have crossed my desk:

* Kudos to Robert McMillen, associate director of the Social Science Research Center’s Tobacco Control Unit and associate professor in the Department of Psychology, who earlier this month testified before the New Orleans City Council about the economic impact of smoke-free laws on restaurants and casinos at the request of the American Lung Association.

* Congratulations to Bill Elmore, interim director of the Swalm School of Chemical Engineering, who recently received the 2014 Outstanding Advising Award from the National Academic Advising Association. Read more about this well-deserved recognition at www.bagley.msstate.edu/news/hunter-henry-chair-receives-national-advising-award.

* Kudos to MSU’s newest Certified Research Administrators: Mary Ann Latham, MAFES contract and grants specialist, and Jennifer Easley, director of Sponsored Programs Administration, earned the CRA credential in December.

* Congratulations to Jenny Du, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Bobby Shackouls Endowed Professorship in the Bagley College of Engineering, who has been named a fellow of the International Society for Optics and Photonics for achievements in optical hyperspectral imaging and analysis in remote sensing.

* Kudos to Jodi Roberts, Mississippi State’s IRB officer and assistant director of Research Compliance, who recently earned the Certified IRB Manager designation. The CIM certification process is designed specifically for professionals who are responsible for oversight of human research protection programs.

* Congratulations to Erin Kiess, the university’s chemical hygiene officer, for achieving the credential of Certified Safety Professional. CSP qualifications are based on professional safety practice in the U.S. The general CSP requirements include education, professional safety experience, demonstrating knowledge of professional safety practice and passing rigorous board exams.

Final words
On Jan. 20, the Moroccan ambassador to the United States, Rachad Bouhlal, will be on campus and speak at a public event in Colvard Student Union’s Fowlkes Auditorium at 3 p.m., and I encourage you to attend his presentation. Read more about his visit at www.msstate.edu/web/media/announcement.php?id=2334.

Thank you for taking the time to read this month’s letter. If you have any questions, suggestions or concerns about Mississippi State’s research and economic development activities, please feel free to contact me at dshaw@research.msstate.edu.

Go Dawgs!

— David


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